Travel Blog

Meanderings of a Working Travel Agent

Is Airplane Food Better in the Front of the Aircraft?

This is what one flight attendant claims.  This left me feeling puzzled.  Does she say that because they start the trolley from the front of the plane – maybe the food is hotter then.  Can’t say I have noticed any improvement whether I sit in the front or the back – but then is there much difference anyway.  I mean, really?  Can you honestly say that any airplane food is tasty?  I am talking economy people – so all you business class and first class folks – just sit back and shut up for the moment.

The same flight attendant said perhaps you should rather bring your own meal.  Does she mean when you are sitting at the back?  Honestly I really don’t like sitting next to a person who has brought their own food onto a flight.   I am not being mean but at least when an airline serves an onboard meal it is “closed environment friendly” but if you bring a stinky spicy curried fish dish, for example, you are going to win no friends with your fellow passengers.  Gatwick airport even has recommendations for passengers bringing their own meals on board –

It is a dilemma for sure.  Many airlines have been “roasted” (‘scuse the pun – I couldn’t help it) about the lousy food they serve and any quick google stroll will produce many examples –

airplane food 01

Oh boy.   

There are certainly lots of people who live on protein bars while flying the skies and you can’t blame them when faced with the above.  The same flight attendant goes on to say that airplane food is very salty so that’s why it is better to bring your own food on board.  I don’t agree with that either.  The reason airplane food is salty is because out taste buds behave differently at high altitudes.

Some interesting points from an article in Time Magazine throws some light on all this – and why you often get sloshy looking food on a plane –

“Airlines came to understand that by the time you have served 250-plus passengers, the food would either get cold or dry,” said de Syon, whose work focuses on the history of aviation. “The solution? Douse whatever you are serving in fluid.”

But even when airplane food is made in a way that might taste good before the flight takes off, the combination of dry air, low pressure and loud engine noises in flight cabins heavily impact the passengers’ ability to smell and taste — causing even the best-prepared food to seem slightly off.

The dry air of a flight cabin tends to suppress our sense of smell, which is an important factor in taste. Low air pressure and background noises further impact the way we taste, by repressing the ability to taste sweet and salty foods, according to Spence. For food to taste the same before it is in the air, airline caterers have to add up to 30% more of sugar or salt to a meal.

Well now I don’t know what to think.  Shall I just stick with the cheese and biscuits plus a double helping of pretzels?   Throw in a couple of protein bars while I am at it.  Or should I just go the whole hog and take a big take out bowl of spicy Pho soup?  Just hope there isn’t any turbulence.

airplane food 02

2 Responses

  1. We just flew business class with WestJet on Monday. The service was excellent and the food better than restaurant food. Cheese Ravioli with veggies. Chicken with veloute sauce. We were very pleased.

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The Travel Lady Blog

The Travel Lady

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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